” Sensuality for her is not only a wave of pleasure in which she is bathed, and a charge of electric joy at contact with another. “
and as many posts on
the Muscleheaded Blog
have definitively shown —
so unlikely to us
in the present day
“believe it or not“
applies more times
than I can count.
My friend sent me a picture
of a vintage vibrator
that she saw at a garage sale…..
(She didn’t say
whether she bought it,
or not…… 😀 )
And, of course,
it got me thinking —
Just how old
are these gadgets, anyway?
Back in merry old
19th century England,
when female orgasms
were considered impossible,
Doctors were treating
a condition called ‘hysteria’ —
a common enough complaint,
— as one would imagine,
They would manually
manipulate their client’s
until relief was obtained.
one never knows what
other manipulation was used,
but manually was the
Talk about suffering
for your profession, huh?
he had a friend,
Edmund St. John Smythe,
who was a wealthy inventor
with a big ole mansion,
and servants, and stuff.
Smythe had just invented
the electric feather duster,
of all things….
but it was hardly
Granville knew just how
to put that thing to better use.
And it didn’t take long
for the buzz
to get around town,
about Dr. Granville’s
new treatment device —
— called “Granville’s Hammer.”
Hooo boy, where are
the marketing boys
when you need them, huh?
It didn’t matter,
Soon, there were
over 200 companies
in the United States and Britain
making the machines…
Hence the weirdly
of some models.
They soon evolved into
self contained hand held devices,
and were widely available
in both battery powered,
and plug in varieties —
with any and every sort
of attachment available.
Sears sold several models
in their 1907 catalog.
but I’m thinking,
they were probably
well worth the money.
And if you didn’t have
electricity laid on, yet —
(pun completely intentional)
there were even
that range from true,
Will it relieve spasms and pain?
Will it make you live longer
and regain your health magically?
And if you happened to take
one of these things
in the tub with you,
…. like so many people
did over the years…..
It might bring your frustrations
to a rather abrupt end.
……… well, just in case you don’t, lemme introduce ya.
His name is Reddy Kilowatt, and for about six decades –
From the 20’s onwards, he was the spokes-person —
errrrr, I mean…..
…… spokes-cartoon ….
….. for the electric companies in the United States.
As service expanded into rural areas,
Reddy served as a way of making electricity more … approachable..
if you will,
to those who didn’t have electrical service in their homes.
Believe it or not,
and it wasn’t all that long ago,
that some folks took an awful lot of convincing—
…… they had done quite well without it,
and many felt that electricity was a needless expense,
as well as a potential hazard.
Houses that were to have electricity ‘laid on’
would have to be wired,
gas fixtures removed,
and codes met —
Reddy Kilowatt was a way of humanizing the electric utility,
and convincing them that the investment would save them money,
and improve their lives in the long run.
Most of the original appeal for electricity was to run household lighting —
…. but as more and more appliances were developed using it,
the electric companies wanted very badly to send the message that electricity was cheap and plentiful.
— to express this concept of electricity being cheaper than other fuel sources.
In areas where the regional electrification programs like the Tennessee Valley Authority were buying out whole towns and putting people off their lands–
During one recent dry period,
I noticed a remnants of a church steeple sticking up in the middle of Lake Wateree —
— it had been flooded by the Electric Authority so fast in the 1920’s,
that no one had time to take the structure down first.
So you can imagine the culture shock electrification really was.
I guess you could call it propaganda–
— changing peoples minds one image at a time.
Highly collectible today,
items with Reddy’s image could, at one time, be found most anywhere–
…. on most anything.
And even lightbulbs.
………. seems pretty natural at that.
“Electricity is penny cheap “ was the slogan on this paper weight.
and everything that have a logo on it —-
……. one for every day of the year.
Reddy even got involved in fighting the “Red Menace” —
by ‘participating’ in disseminating several pieces of anti-communist propaganda……
For your own good,
Of course, electric companies had much to gain from keeping their organizations ‘for-profit’, and not publically owned.
They were even successful in keeping price regulation out for many years.
As with just about any human enterprise,
the potential profits generated a drive toward electrification that ended up having both good and bad effects —
depending on your perspective.
And the electric companies wanted very much to control that perspective as much as possible.
It had an interesting ‘glowing’ quality from the offset design of the interior lighting fixture..
The combination of the twenties style lettering,
the Reddy logo,
and the “Cook Electrically” legend makes for a very interesting collector piece.
I really do dig it.
and the “Tower of Light”.
This postcard features Reddy Kilowatt and the Tower.
Reddy Kilowatt says:
“At the New York World’s Fair, the Tower of Light is the world’s most brilliant welcome light.
“A Total Electric Gold Medallion Home is the world’s most modern home –
— it’s as clean as electric light itself.
See your local electric utility company for complete information”
He wuz BIG.
Alas, his image is no longer seen everywhere …..
……. anywhere …..
Gone from the billboards, gone from the cookware, gone from the advertising, gone from even the kitsch.
And, the last time I was in Albuquerque ………..
It didn’t look nuthin like that, anymore………
( The old giant Reddy Kilowatt neon sign is on the right in the postcard, under the “Public Service Company of New Mexico”- from 1954 )
Looking back now, it’s actually amazing that such a ubiquitous character as Reddy Kilowatt should have disappeared almost completely from our national consciousness within a span of only about 30 years.
You figure with all the junk that was made with his image,
…………… he’d still be as famous as the Beatles.
Oh sorry —
…… you didn’t know Paul McCartney was in a band, did ya?